Depth

A four player split screen vehicle shooter, with an information economy twist

Role

Level design, project management, gameplay programming.

Team

Needs and Constraints

Varrick Grimm - modeling

Jerryd Perry - modeling, sound 

Sophia Arnaout - modeling

Andy Brenneke - programming

Yu Te - programming

Alethearia Moon - production

Nadya Surjoko - UI

Justin Semke -modeling

File Size:  70 MB

Required Hardware:  Up to four players, an Xbox controller for each player.

Required Software:  Windows PC

Instructions:  See read me in download file, run at 1920 x 1080

This was a product of Global Game Jam 2018.  The theme of the Jam was “transmission”, which we decided to interpret in the sense of sonar.  This created an interesting information based meta-game: send out a ping to see, but be seen when you ping. The rest of the game came together on that foundation.


It was a large team of art students, and when we wrangled a programmer, he expressed concern that there may be too many of us. Thankfully, our programmers turned out to be extraordinarily talented, and I fell into the role of assembling the level in engine, which entailed handling the artists’ assets, and organizing our project folders, and so developed into an informal project management role.


The great constraint of any game jam is, of course, time, but we were fortunate that our team was committed and organized.

Process

This was made almost entirely in the space of 48 hours.  So our overall development was a constant boil of focused chaos.  This, plus the sleep deprivation, means I can't comment on our overall process with great insight.  I can say that for me personally, the project was marked by a real desire to stay organized, minimize wastage and panic, and keep everyone focused. I started with a list of assets that I knew we would need and passed that around to the artists.
 

I then started with a paper map of the level.  I built the terrain of the level from real world grayscale heightmaps, that I comped together in Photoshop.  From there I started to actually implement this in gameplay - and quickly discovered that my level was way too big!  An easy fix, but an important lesson about establishing scale.  I ended up establishing a cycle of getting new art assets (and doing some quality control), loading them into our scene, placing them, play testing, adjusting, and repeating.  This was interrupted a few times by helping out with bottlenecked areas, namely programming some of the more simple scripts that our programmers delegated to me.

Postmortem

This was fun, and I think that comes across in the frenetic mess of gameplay.  The team was so excited by what we were making, that as a group we pushed to make as many features as we possibly could (this includes the poorly balanced, but very goofy individual powers of different submarines).  In my opinion that time could have been better spent refining the squirrelly controls, or resolving various problems with collisions and pacing. But in many respects, this works better as a concept prototype.  It clearly underscores what works - and what doesn't - about this idea.

As to the level - it certainly serves its purpose, but I would have liked to use more verticality in retrospect.